Athletes in many sports, including rugby, soccer, the NFL and tennis, are turning to cryotherapy as a quick way to recover from competition.
PARIS -- It is just a short walk, or an even shorter drive if you are a top player, to get from Roland Garros to the French Tennis Federation's National Training Centre, a state-of-the-art facility that is available to French players throughout the year, free of charge. With six indoor courts and various gyms, it has everything elite players need to train.
But for two weeks a year, during the French Open, it becomes home to many top players, who come for another reason: its recovery facilities. And one kind of recovery, in particular -- cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy involves immersing the body in air frozen to temperatures that can be lower than minus-150 degrees Fahrenheit for a short spell of time. The idea is the extreme cold helps the body recover faster, while also reducing injury, raising energy levels and even improving sleep. While many athletes have long used ice baths, cryotherapy rooms or machines have become the preferred choice of many top sports stars, including soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.
All players in the main draw can use the cryotherapy rooms for free, and Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev and many others have been frequent visitors to the rooms in the past fortnight. Go up one floor from the entrance and turn a corner, and you are confronted by two small rooms, marginally bigger than your average shower cubicle. One is set at minus -60 degrees Celsius (minus -76 Fahrenheit) and the other at minus -110 degrees Celsius (minus-166 Fahrenheit).
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By Simon Cambers